D&D London trading update reveals Omicron impact

D&D London, owner and operator of 45 restaurant, bar and hotel brands, has today (3 August) published its latest trading update, revealing the impact of the Covid-19 Omicron variant and the recent transport spikes. 

For the 15 months since reopening post-lockdown (April 2021 to June 2022), the group reports an estimasted revenue decrease of £5m and EBITDA of £3m. 

Central London locations have seen a slow recovery to pre-pandemic levels but, excluding the transport strikes and Jubiliee weekend impact in June, have been trading at 100%–105% of pre-Covid levels since April. 

However, restaurants outside of London have been trading ahead of pre-Covid levels following the sector's reopening in April last year. The group has seen partularly strong performances from 20 stores in Manchester, as well as Issho, East 59th, Crafthouse and Angelica in Leeds. 

Venues in the capital demonstrate continued sensitivity to external factors while restaurants in Manchester and Leeds remain resolutely resilient. In July's two-day heatwave, for example, London venue revenues dropped 30%, while takings in Manchester and Leeds surged by 10%. 

In terms of the group's overseas venues, Alcazar in Paris has been trading significantly ahead of pre-Covid revenue levels since reopening post-lockdown. 

New York has been slower to rebound post-Covid but is now trading well. Guastavino's, D&D's event space, recorded its best ever May in terms of revenue and EBITDA, and in June was D&D's second most profitable venue. 

The group has also laid out plans for future development, noting that its Birmingham rooftop restaurant, Orelle, will open at 103 Colmore Row in October. On top of this, D&D has a substantial pipeline of new projects in legals and advanced discussions. A strong of new sites are planned for the UK, USA and European cities. 

Management feel the estate is in a strong cash position with substantial banking headroom to protect business from future economic uncertainty, as well as to support expansion over the next two to three years. 

Des Gunewardena, chairman and CEO of D&D London, comments: "Six months ago, Omicron and the swift return of workers to central London and New York were our biggest concerns. Now our major challenges are cost inflation and the continuing need for more staff as revenues bounce back... More positively, our customers are spending well and I am confident will continue to do so through summer.

"Looking ahead, we have the opportunity to significantly scale up the business both in the UK and overseas. And we will do so. But we will manage the pace of expansion in the context of what remains an uncertain economic backdrop."

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